The famous Danish actress Trine Dyrholm (Dronningen, In a Better World, Festen) is Margrete, the ruler who was the first to unite Denmark, Sweden and Norway at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries. Until Margrete came along, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway had been at war with each other for centuries, weakening each other which made them easy prey for other neighbors who occasionally knackered their territory. The historical spectacle about this famous queen, which is equally a psychological drama, is brought to us by Charlotte Sieling, which was “Margrete den forste” in the original and the most expensive Danish film ever made. And this is very obvious because a good part of the money was spent on the exceptional revival of the historical period in which the action of the film takes place.
It is the beginning of the 15th century, and the Kalmar Union, as the alliance of Swedes, Danes and Norwegians under the leadership of Margret and her stepson Erik, was called, is threatened by the Germans from the south. In order to further secure her country, Margrete wants to negotiate a military alliance with England, so an English delegation arrived in Kalmar to negotiate the alliance, as well as Erik’s marriage to Princess Philippa. But in addition to the English, a mysterious man who claims to be the queen’s son Oluf, the rightful king of Denmark and Norway, will appear in Kalmar. Everyone is in shock because everyone, including the queen, thought that Oluf died 15 years earlier, and now he claims that he managed to escape and spent all his time in Prussian captivity.
The sudden arrival of a man who claims that he is the rightful king not only threatens to complicate the political situation and lead to a conflict between the allies since the Swedes do not recognize Oluf as king, but also quite disturbed the otherwise cold-blooded, prudent and wise queen. Since she was not with her son when he died and did not see him dead, her maternal instincts seem to make her believe that her son really came back from the dead. But on the other hand, rationality and obligations towards an increasingly fragile alliance dictate that she get rid of that intruder as soon as possible, regardless of whether he is really her son or some impostor, because as time passes, her throne is shaking more and more.
Erik, the de facto ruler who is already old enough to take over the throne on his own, is increasingly restless, and he will see his stepmother’s hesitation about the intruder as a weakness and an opportunity to fight for himself. These political intrigues, games and struggles for supremacy and how it all worked in that cruel, dark age are brilliantly shown here. We see that the wars were not exclusively a tool for destabilizing various alliances and states, so even though the adviser, the bishop of Roskilde (Soren Malling) assures her that the mysterious return of her son is a trap of the Germans, the queen is in a serious dilemma. To act like a mother because she is more and more convinced that the stranger is really her son. Or as a true ruler who prioritizes the well-being and security of the alliance.